Okay, so…I love Digimon. Always have, always will. Sure, Pokemon was first in my life, but Digimon is the Mon franchise that never left my heart. There was always something about it that kept pulling me back. This article on AnimeNewsNetwork pretty well explains it. Honestly, the overreaching plot arcs in Digimon Adventure may very well be the first cartoon I ever watched that had such a thing. No, wait, Spider-Man: The Animated Series has it beat, but it’s close! Plus, the DigiDestined have done what Ash Ketchum and every other human Mon protagonist never will–they’ve grown up.
I remember looking forward to Digimon Adventure 02 because I knew I’d be seeing Tai, Matt, Sora, Mimi, Joe, Izzy, TK, and Kari (yeah, I’m gonna be using their dub names, brother) a little older and returning to the Digital World. Sure, I grew to like Davis, Cody, Yolei, and Ken, but it was the OGs that I preferred. Digimon Tamers is probably the best series, but it’s not my favorite, and Digimon Frontier is a fun Super Sentai series. I’ve not yet watched past those (got them DVD sets, though), but yeah…I love Digimon. So, imagine my sheer joy when Digimon Adventure tri. was announced. Lads and ladies, I damn near cried in Reunion when Greymon first showed up. Seriously. But, now that that condensed backstory is out of the way, let’s get to the point of this post–the second movie, Determination.
Part two of the six-part series picks up shortly after the first one (I think) left off. The team–sans Joe–get together to go to a hot springs-ish location in order to welcome Meiko Mochizuki (I hope we get a dub and they name her “May”) and her Digimon Meicoomon to the team. Well, it’s partly to welcome her and partly to try and get Tai and Matt to reconcile. See, they’re still beefing with each other from the first movie. Surprisingly not over Sora, though. Maybe. Sora might still have something to do with it, but I don’t think their love triangle is part of this particular fight. Anyway, I really loved this “episode.” (Why you splitting it up into episodes, Crunchyroll? You think I can’t handle a movie?!) But, before we go any further, it’s time for a gif.
In any show, if there’s an episode where the cast travels somewhere for a celebration or vacation, I’m all up in there. I love ’em. I especially like that they didn’t go with the hot springs tropes of other anime. None of the guys try to peep. Childhood safe. They do, however, have the girls run into the mens’ area because Biyomon and Meicoomon wound up in there by accident. They guys’ reactions are priceless. Izzy is supremely embarassed, TK calmly catches Kari so she doesn’t bust her ass (just kiss, you fools!), Matt just walks back into the sauna, and Tai reprimands them. Classic.
Another anime trope is present in this movie with the school festival. It’s never been one of my favorites, but it’s a’ight. I did really enjoy it here since it showed Mimi and Meiko becoming closer friends. This is also the catalyst for Mimi’s arc in this movie. Not only does she force her American cafe idea on everyone else in the festival meeting, but she’s also tired of the Digimon getting a bad rap, so she takes Meiko to fight Ogremon–the latest infected Digimon. Mimi and Togemon get the bright idea to bust out their AOE move with a news chopper overhead, and it goes about as well as you’d expect. Thankfully, Leomon arrives to carry away Ogremon again (yeah, that happened earlier, too). Mimi gets an earful from Izzy for that eff-up, and her classmates band together against her idea. Mimi finally realizes what she thinks and wants may not always be what’s best for others.
Meanwhile, Joe’s dealing with a crisis of his own (yeah, they’re on the poster, so this is kinda their movie). Joe bails on the get-together and later the fight, lamenting that he has to be an adult. Sure, he wants to have Gommamon in his life, but he doesn’t understand why he was chosen. He doesn’t want to fight. He has too many other things on his plate. Joe feels guilty for abandoning the team, but destiny saddled him with a responsibility he didn’t want. Stupid destiny. This crisis of conscience leads to Gommamon running away in hopes that Joe can move on and find the peace he thinks he wants. Granted, he only went to stay with Izzy, but still, running away is serious business.
We get to the school festival, and hoo-boy, do things go down here. Meiko helps Mimi understand her ideas aren’t best for everyone, but they’re still hers and Meiko has her back. The nine Digimon (escorted by Leomon) sneak into the festival because they’re precocious. Also, they want to see what their humans are doing. Gotta love ’em. Joe finally gets there so he and Gommamon can have their overdue fight, and Meicoomon wanders off from the group again. It is this move that allows shit to hit the fan because Maki Himekawa (one of the government agents looking after the kids) finds her(?) but leaves her alone again to get snacks for them. That’s when the strange figure who’s appeared throughout the movie finally arrives. Sure, you know who he looks like if you’re an old fan, but you didn’t want to accept it. It couldn’t be, right? Well, it looks like it is. From out of the latest distortion steps none other than Ken Ichijouji.
Yes, the Digimon Emperor (or is he?) has returned to the dark side and abducted Meicoomon. He re-enters the distortion, but Leomon, Gommamon, and Palmon follow him. There they must face…Imperialdramon! Yes, they’re fighting him on the poster, but still! No surprise, but they’re boned. Leomon’s a tough dude, but he has a habit of dying. Gommamon and Palmon can reach Ultimate level, but their DigiDestined are on the fritz. Thankfully, though, Joe and Mimi face their problems and come to the aid of their Digimon (well, Mimi was already there, but she took a bit to get better). Cue the epic music, because the poster becomes reality as they go Mega and Vikemon and Rosemon whup some Digi-ass! Imperialdramon is surprisingly dealt with and “Ken” leaves. Our heroic Digimon return to the human world and all seems well. Until Meicoomon refuses to return to Meiko. We then see Meiko’s Digivice turn black, and Meicoomon kills Leomon (there’s that bad habit flaring up again) and flees! Himekawa reveals Meicoomon is somehow responsible for the distortions and infected Digimon as she walks away, and that’s where part two ends.
So, this has gone on longer than I expected (that’s what she said), but I ain’t stopping now! Maybe I can’t remove my nostalgia goggles, but I loved this movie. Characters move forward, plot thickens, issues resolved, and more questions raised. A whole bunch of questions. See, when the poster got released a while ago, I assumed the second generation of DigiDestined would show up since Imperialdramon is on it. All we’ve seen of them in the tri. movies is just them getting their asses handed to them at the beginning of the first one. What happened? Why is no one worried about them? Obviously, they still existed as the main eight recognize Ken, but they seemed surprised he was alive. Not just that he was evil again, but that he was alive. Was the second team really killed? How was he controlling Imperialdramon without Davis? Did the whole team turn evil? Was that even Ken? He vanished like a Digi-being! What happened?! Agh! I need to know.
Also, Himekawa smiled when Meicoomon killed Leomon. I had to rewind to really catch it, but she definitely smiled. That trick is playing some games, y’all. Something ain’t right with her. I want to like her after she helped the kids so much, but she’s shady. Don’t hurt these kids, Himekawa. Don’t you do it! They trust you, woman. It’s not too late to be a real hero and join the good fight. Enough about that one, though. There’s something else that’s interested me.
Alphamon fought the DigiDestined in the first movie. Imperialdramon fights them in this one. Are the Royal Knights involved in all this somehow? I don’t think that particular group has ever been Adventure canon, but we’ve had two of their ranks attack our heroes now. That can’t be coincidence. Maybe the writers just wanted to use recognizable Mega level asskickers. I doubt it, though. Or, maybe I just want the Royal Knights to show up in these movies.
So yeah, lots of questions. What happened to the 02 team? Was that really Ken? If it is, why is he the Digimon Emperor again? What the hell is Himekawa playing at? What do the Royal Knights have to do with all this? Is the whole team going Mega before it’s all said and done? Will Sora just go ahead and choose Tai? What’s Meicoomon’s deal? Is Meiko the new Jeri? Why does Leomon always have to die? Can TK and Kari please be together? Please?
Basically, I eagerly await the next installment. Confession can’t get here soon enough.